Tag Archives: pain

From Joke to Redemption

Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool, but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding. -Proverbs 10:23, ESV

The past 20 years has shown so many movies and TV shows that glorify dangerous and stupid acts as comedy. In fact, as of this writing there is a new film being released by a veteran of this genre about an amusement park that minimizes safety (and they do all their own stunts).

All for a laugh.

What pains me is that this veteran of “comedy” is incredibly intelligent and a good actor.

A Changed Man

I have written in these pages before about my own life. When I was in high school, before Christ grabbed hold of me, I had pretty much given up on this world. I was a master liar who manipulated situations to cause pain to others. I found it a joke, much like these movies, but only on the emotional and psychological levels as opposed to physical.

But when Christ transformed my mind by His Holy Spirit, those “jokes” were no longer funny. Suddenly wisdom and compassion were my joy.

This is the difference between the world and a Christian. The world sees pain as a joke, as entertainment. A Christian sees pain as part of a fallen world, redeemed through Christ’s sacrifice to edify His Church and ultimately end suffering.

If He redeemed this joke of a man to a tool of understanding, He can do it for anyone. Even that “veteran.”

Even you.

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Unnecessary Pain

Proverbs 25:19

19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

Hiking the Trails

I enjoy going on hiking and camping trips. I find them relaxing and refreshing.

Those long walks and getting away from it can be a relief to a weary mind and soul. Making simple meals over a fire (or out of a bag) is such a joy.

However, if I were to slip and twist my ankle, my hike would be more of a bother than a time of relaxation.

If I in my slip I fell and broke my tooth, my meals would be a time of anxiety rather than of joy.

A “friend”

On one trip into the wilderness with a college group, we had been out hiking and camping for three days. We had a great time.

On the hike out, a couple of the hikers grew quite tired and had run out water. One of our friends, who had decided at the last minute to join our group, did not even slow down to help. When all but those two were at the meeting point for almost half an hour, we got worried. The one mentioned seeing them, and then he started walking on ahead toward the exit.

He did not help us locate our friends, and he did not seem interested in helping in any other way, either. All he managed was to cause unnecessary pain through more grief and tension!

The Golden Rule

Followers of Jesus are expected to help others, for we may in fact be helping Him increase His Kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46).

What kind of friend are you?

If you see someone in need do you find out if you can help, or do you carry on your way with little thought about the matter?

Do bring relief or cause more pain?

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:9-12, NIV

Lord, help us to love as You love. Fill us with Your compassion and grace, that we may not cause unnecessary pain on others in their time of need. Help us to be Your faithful servants to this lost and hurting world.


Tears of a Clown

Proverbs 14:13

13 Even in laughter the heart is sorrowful; and the end of that mirth is heaviness.

Covered Up

In 1970, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles released the song “The Tears of a Clown“.

The Tears of a Clown” is a song about a man whose girlfriend left him. He is singing to the girl so that she knows he is utterly saddened by her leaving, so she should not be misled by the act he puts on in front of others. Like a clown, he covers his emotions and puts on an entertaining show.

How many times do we play this game in our own lives?

There are times when this is okay, such as when Jesus told us to keep ourselves looking happy and healthy when fasting (Matthew 6:16-18). However, this is to keep ourselves from seeking the attention of people rather than God.

Torn Down

On the other hand, in those times when our joy is stolen from us, we should not hide it.

Like Nick said the other day, we must be willing to share all of our joys and hurts with others. The only thing guaranteed to happen if hold in our hurts is that we will become bitter and lonely.

The authors of these devotionals have been able to help each other, because we have confided in each other our joys and our hurts. I have made it through over a decade thus far in ministry, because growing up I kept my hurts to myself. Eventually I stopped sharing my joys, as well. I learned how much pain and bitterness grows within, gradually eroding mind, body, and soul. Therefore, as a new believer I made the commitment to share my experiences with others I could trust (and sometimes anyone who would listen).

Without confiding in someone, especially God, it weighs down on you. It builds up and tears you down to nothing.

Built Up, Again

Fortunately, there is a God who cares. There is a God in the restoration and peace business. Jesus calls us to take off those masks that burden us and find rest in Him (Matthew 11:28-30); for Jesus is the only source of true peace (John 14:25-27), a peace that we may never fully understand but that brings that rest He promised (Philippians 4:6-7).

God not only restores us, He makes us more. He builds us into the likeness of Jesus. But we must be willing to share our joy and pain.

Merciful God, grant us peace in our troubles and release from our pain. Help us to confide in You and dearly loved ones. You did not create us to handle things alone, so we ask that You help us by changing our hearts and minds to be willing to remove our masks.


Unstooping the Back

Proverbs 12:25

“Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop: but a good word maketh it glad.”

Pain & Sadness

When I was engaged to be married to a woman who was not quite right for me, it dragged us both down. When I knew God did not want me with that woman, I knew I had to end the relationship.

The bad news is that I did not want to. This led to a deep depression. My heart was so heavy that it held me in place, emotionally and physically. I was practically useless for a couple of weeks and literally useless for a few days, those last days of which I sat slouched on a couch not moving except to go to the bathroom.

My heavy heart literally made me stoop and slouch.

I was in mourning for a relationship that had yet to end.

Good Words

It seemed that nothing anyone said could help.

The thing that did it was a dear brother in the Lord saying “God loves you. Show Him you love Him, too.”

It made me realize how to live out Jesus’ words: “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26)

I needed to show God that I loved Him more than anything or anyone else. It took a friend’s words to lift me up and make me move.

Kindness & Love

It is a great kindness to share a good word with someone with a heavy heart full of pain and/or sadness. It should be done with love, and that love should be the love of God.

Someone can offer a kind word, even a good word, to someone, but if it is done at the wrong time or in the wrong way it can have the opposite effect.

Sometimes, the best thing to say is nothing at all. It is just to sit there, to be there.

God of mercy and kindness, thank You for leading us to and through those times of pain and sadness. Thank You that You also provide us with those people and words that can lift us up to gladness, again. Give us a heart to share that love and kindness to others, and give us the wisdom to know when to speak and when to simply be there.


Wound or Incision?

Proverbs 12:18

“There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.”

Cut Open

I have never been pierced with a sword but I have been cut open during surgery. While under anesthetic the surgeons made a twelve-inch incision from my chest bone downwards so that they could gain access to my abdomen to remove a large section of diseased colon. Thirty-five metal staples were used to close the wound. When I came round after the surgery the pain was indescribable.

Of the several tubes I found attached to my body, one was set up to allow me to self administer measured doses of morphine. This dulled but did not remove the pain. It was ten days before the staples were removed and I was discharged from hospital. Although the pain had reduced it took a while for it to fade completely. For three months the discomfort meant that I slept sitting up, while the scar remained sensitive for years.

Pain or Healing?

This proverb is a warning of the pain that words can cause. “Reckless words piece like a sword” says the NIV, “but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” The truth is that words can hurt just like the cutting of a sword, or a surgeon’s scalpel. Pain of this nature does not go immediately; it lingers. It may fade, and time may indeed be a healer, but words can cause lasting damage. It may be years before the scars left by hurtful words cease to be sensitive.

Where words of healing are required then the challenge is to select such words with the utmost of care, and preferably under the guidance and instruction of the Holy Spirit. It is often the case that we mean to bring healing, but the words that we use merely intensify the pain. Be careful. Sometimes it is wiser not to speak at all.


Better Fruit

Proverbs 8:18-19

“Riches and honour are with me; yea, durable riches and righteousness. My fruit is better than gold, yea, than fine gold; and my revenue than choice silver.”
A Tear

As I was reaching up to type these words, I wiped a tear from the table in front of me. The odd thing about it was that I had to stop and think what it was. Evidently, it had been a while since I last saw one drop.

I am sure there will be more. And really, that’s a good thing.

Tears are valuable. They teach what happiness and indulgence never can. They teach us that we are weak, that we break, and that we are incapable of fixing everything, if anything.

They tell us we’re dependent on God. And really, that’s a good thing.

A Better Fruit

To many, a fallen tear on one’s table is nothing more than a drop of water. However, to the Christian, the one who loves Wisdom, it is a glistening jewel-like seed, the fruit of which far surpasses the earnings of any other investment.

The “durable riches and righteousness” of wisdom are far better than the rarest currencies on Earth. What grows from the tears of a humble heart cannot be purchased with all the money in the world.

“Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.”

And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. – Rev 21:4

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Unnecessary Pain

Proverbs 25:19

19 Confidence in an unfaithful man in time of trouble is like a broken tooth, and a foot out of joint.

Hiking the Trails

I enjoy going on hiking and camping trips. I find them relaxing and refreshing.

Those long walks and getting away from it can be a relief to a weary mind and soul. Making simple meals over a fire (or out of a bag) is such a joy.

However, if I were to slip and twist my ankle, my hike would be more of a bother than a time of relaxation.

If I in my slip I fell and broke my tooth, my meals would be a time of anxiety rather than of joy.

A “friend”

On one trip into the wilderness with a college group, we had been out hiking and camping for three days. We had a great time.

On the hike out, a couple of the hikers grew quite tired and had run out water. One of our friends, who had decided at the last minute to join our group, did not even slow down to help. When all but those two were at the meeting point for almost half an hour, we got worried. The one mentioned seeing them, and then he started walking on ahead toward the exit.

He did not help us locate our friends, and he did not seem interested in helping in any other way, either. All he managed was to cause unnecessary pain through more grief and tension!

The Golden Rule

Followers of Jesus are expected to help others, for we may in fact be helping Him increase His Kingdom (Matthew 25:31-46).

What kind of friend are you?

If you see someone in need do you find out if you can help, or do you carry on your way with little thought about the matter?

Do bring relief or cause more pain?

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets. Matthew 7:9-12, NIV

Lord, help us to love as You love. Fill us with Your compassion and grace, that we may not cause unnecessary pain on others in their time of need. Help us to be Your faithful servants to this lost and hurting world.